Project Coach 'Graduates' 10 Young Men

by Kyle Bender '12

August 6, 2010

The STEP UP Project Coach Program wrapped up an eventful week at Wabash with a graduation ceremony Saturday morning.

Now in its second year at the College, the program seeks to provide inner-city young men with an opportunity to explore their talents and interests related to coaching, all while learning about college life. 
The 10 young men heard from President Patrick White who encouraged them to go out and be coaches and help change the world. Dean of Students Mike Raters added his words of encouragement and thanks for the motivation the young men provided him during their week at Wabash.
To see pictures from of the young men who participated in the graduation ceremony, click here.
The group consisted of high school sophomores from the Chicago and Benton Harbor, Michigan metropolitan areas. 
While at Wabash, they received professional skill instruction including resume help from the Career Services office, college counseling from the Admissions staff, and budgeting advice from the Financial Aid office. 
They also were given CPR training from Athletic Trainer Mark Colston and coaching advice from several Wabash head coaches. They used these newly acquired skills each morning working with small children at the Montgomery County Boys and Girls Club.
Wabash Again Hosting Project Coach Program

Wabash College is once again hosting inner-city youth entering their sophomore year of high school through the STEP UP Project Coach Program.

Now in its second year at Wabash, the program seeks to provide young men with an opportunity to explore their talents and interests related to coaching, while learning about College life. To see pictures from the first few days, click here
Dean of Students Mike Raters ’85 is heading up the week-long program and is assisted by staff from Smith College, where the program was founded. Wabash students Wes Chamblee ’11, Josh Johnson ’11, and Andre Adeyemi ’12 are also helping as coaches and overseeing the living units.
The group has enjoyed a variety of activities, including resume and interviewing help from the Career Services staff, college options from Wabash Admissions counselors, and budgeting advice from the Financial Aid office.
In addition, the young men have received CPR training from Athletic Trainer Mark Colston and coaching advice from several Wabash head coaches. They have used the newly acquired skills each morning working with small children at the Montgomery Boys and Girls Club. 
“The concept of men leading young men to lead young children is consistent with the Wabash College mission to both “lead effectively and live humanely”; consistent with many similar programs that exist during the academic year (College Mentors For Kids, MXI’s KQ and K, etc.),” Raters said. “The good relationship our men have developed as volunteers and coaches at the local Boys and Girls Club paved the way for these young men to practice their newly-gained coaching skills with the summer day camp kids at the Club.”
The program first came to Wabash after Mike Beemer, a long-time friend of the College, approached President Pat White about hosting the program.  Smith trustee and foundation executive Linda Salisbury, who works out of Chicago, and Joe Sukup, an attorney and youth advocate in the Benton Harbor, Michigan area, proposed bringing inner city, high school sophomores from those two areas to Wabash.
Jeremy Seabrook, one of the program’s attendees from Holy Trinity High School in Chicago, has been pleased with the scheduled activities.
“I’ve really enjoyed myself because we’re being taught how to be coaches,” he said. “We’re teaching the kids at the Boys and Girls Club how to be nice, how to get along with one another, and how to learn about sports.
“I want to be a pediatrician when I grow up, so that’s one of the reasons why I enjoy working with kids. They have all been very receptive to us, cooperating and interested in what we have to say to them. I just really feel blessed to be here for this program.”
The three main goals of the Project Coach program are to:
- develop leadership skills in youth coaches that can be transferred to school, employment, relationships, and other community endeavors.
-  build the capacity of local community organizations by providing a cadre of well-trained and knowledgeable youth workers—who happen to be teenagers.
- put an emphasis on sports and health opportunities for elementary school aged children to engage in and enjoy physical activity.
To learn more about Project Coach, click here
The program continues at Wabash through August 7.

 


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